This is a post by THH Jon.
March is the official start of the summer season in the Philippines. My country is home to 7,107 islands so the reasonable thing to do is hit the beach and have a splash. Not for #teamharthart though. We kicked off the summer by going to the summit of Mt. Daguldol. Crazy huh?! We thought so too.
The team met up at Cubao where we ate breakfast before starting our commute. With our tummies full of pure awesome chicken joy goodness, we started our commute. First, we took a bus (Alps Transit) going to Lipa, Batangas. It took us around 2 hours to get there. We then took another bus going to San Juan, Batangas and got off at the Alps bus terminal. After eating lunch at “the behive” and buying our supplies at the local market, we took a jeepney going to Brgy. Hugom where the jump off is located.
The first leg of the hike was tough and power draining as you have to walk under the heat of the sun. You can take a tricycle going to the foot of the mountain where the start of the mountain trail begins or you can walk (definitely not a good idea at that time) on a dusty half-paved road.
The previous trail which was along the beach is not available anymore as the resort owners do not allow mountaineers/passers-by any longer. I would’ve preferred walking along the beach rather than on a half built road.
By the time we reached the start of the mountain trail, my 2 liter bottle was half empty already and my dry fit shirt was soaked in sweat. It took us almost an hour to get to that point and it probably was the longest hour of my life. The dust coupled with the scorching heat of the sun did not do us any good at all.
The mountain greeted us with an assault. The trail is very narrow and a little slippery because of sand and loose rocks so be sure that you watch your steps carefully. There is a part on the trail where there are large rock formations. You can stay there for a bit to take some photos and take five or you can just keep on moving until you reach a house/store/resting area that sells halo-halo, fresh buko and soft drinks. We rested here for quite a while as everyone was already feeling the burn on their legs. It would not have been so bad if we took a tricycle up to foot of the mountain.
Refueled by caffeine and coconut water, we carried on with our calvary. The next leg of the trail was even harder as the assaults were steep. We rested every 5 minutes or so as the strain on our legs and knees were constant due to the unforgiving slopes (I pride myself in heavy barbell squats but man, this mountain really kicked me up the backside).
It was already dawn and we were already running on fumes when we reached the summit. We were so exhausted, everyone just collapsed in a sweaty heap with a look of I-can’t-believe-I’m-not-dead on their faces.
After seeing our lives flash before our eyes, we started to set up our tents. The campsite is fairly big and has a drinkable water source near it. Mind you, the water comes from a hose and the water flow is weak it’ll take you ages to fill up a 1 liter bottle.
Everyone went for a nap while I prepared dinner. Louie stayed and assisted me the whole evening, bless her. The team was woken up by the smell of pork steak and rice. It was so quiet you would hear a needle drop as we ate. The plan was to have socials after dinner but everyone voted to just go to bed. The starry sky was soon covered with fog and the once warm air became bitterly cold. It was definitely a contrast from the weather we experience during our ascend. We turned off the lights at 9PM.
It was very foggy the following morning. The girls, headed by Trixia, prepared breakfast (salted eggs and cheese dogs) while the boys collected water from the spring. As soon as we finished breakfast, everyone started clearing things up and started breaking camp. By the time we finished, the fog was all cleared up and the view was amazing. The other hikers were already gone so we had the summit to ourselves. Time for shameless pictures.
The summit looked like a golf course. It was covered with grass and in the middle of it stood a lone but beautiful tree. It was such a wonderful places our phones almost ran out of batteries. It was definitely worth all the effort. After what seemed like thousands of shots, we started our descent.
To our surprise, the trail was not muddy after the cold evening. Our pacing was quite fast and the hike was nowhere near as tiring as our ascent yesterday. With gravity on our side, we reached the store/resting area in no time. Aside from a few slips, everything was smooth. We reached the bottom of the mountain in approximately 3 hours (it would’ve been shorter if we didn’t take so many pictures). The team decided to ride a tricycle to take us to the jump off but there was none available so we took a bangka. It turned out much cheaper and more comfortable compared with tricycles.
We took a shower and ate lunch at the jump off point. As soon as everyone was ready, we hired 2 tricycles (P350 each tricyle) took us to the bus terminal where buses going to Cubao are available.
Mt. Daguldol, I can’t say we’ve been good friends but I’ll definitely remember you not only because of your beauty but also the wild side and surprises you posses. For now though, just stay away.
(To jump off)
Cubao to Lipa – P125
Lipa to San Juan – P70
San Juan to Brgy. Hugom – P40 (jeep)
(From jump off)
Brgy. Hugom to San Juan – P350 per tricycle
San Juan to Cubao – P198
Guide Fee – P400